U. S. Plywood #11

A History

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The following is a history compiled by Rich Wilkens. I asked him for a history of the #11. I got one, a very thorough one. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

In the story of railroad logging in the western part of the U.S. and British Columbia numerous types of steam locomotives were used. At first the locomotives were small tea kettles but by the 1920’s larger logging operations required larger engines. One of these larger locomotives was the logging mallet, an articulated type that generally were of a 2-6-6-2 wheel arrangement though one 2-4-4-2 was used as well as two 2-8-8-2 monsters. Designed by Anatole Mallet of France, the mallet type locomotive is a compound design where steam was first admitted to a high pressure set of cylinders on the rear engine and from there the steam passed to the articulated low pressure engine in front. By doing this the locomotive was more fuel efficient but was slower then a simple type articulated where both engines have high pressure cylinders and are fed steam at the same time.

 

The 2-6-6-2’s were built for heavy pulling and not for speed but they were still much faster then the slow geared engines such as the Shay, Heisler, and Climax. While the wheel arrangement was the same, the locomotives came with either side tank, saddle tank, or tenders. The advantage of the tank engines was an increase in tractive effort due to the weight of the water and fuel being on the locomotive, but these tanks had smaller capacities then a tender, requiring additional stops for replenishing.

 

As with most logging locomotives over the course of their life they passed on to several owners and this is true with U.S Plywood #11. Starting out in western Washington the locomotive would travel to southern Oregon before returning to Washington. By the time the engine was retired its appearance looked considerably different then when it left the Baldwin Locomotive Works factory in Philadelphia in 1926.

 

Ostrander Railway & Timber Co. #7, Ostrander, WA (1926-1939)

 

The history of the Ostrander Railway and Timber Company begins with logging and sawmilling in Pennsylvania. In 1854 a twenty-one year old named Truman Doud Collins, or “TD”, left his job with a crew who were surveying a railroad line in New York and went to Pennsylvania to enter the lumbering business. Over the next 30 years “TD” would be involved with sawmills and many thousand acres of forests in Pennsylvania. A trip out west was made in 1887 by “TD” and his son Everell and after exploring areas in southern California the pair wound up at Ostrander, Washington in Cowlitz County in March of 1888. In the following years Everell acquired numerous stands of timber and eventually took over the ownership of a sawmill at Ostrander. Everell was impressed with the large trees that grew in the area and noted trees that were over 225 feet long.

 

In 1893 the sawmill at Ostrander was incorporated as the Ostrander Railroad Company with Everell as the Secretary-Treasurer. In 1905 he became President of the company and the name was changed to the Ostrander Railway and Timber Company. One of the specialties of the company was long timbers measuring up to 140 feet in length. Some of these large timbers went into building the Panama Canal. In general logging by rail consisted of the laying of spurs in to the stands of trees and after the area was logged off the spurs were pulled up and layed into the next cutting area. These spurs were handled by a Shay, Heisler, or Climax steam locomotive with the logs loaded on disconnect log trucks due to the long lengths. The mainline hauls to the mill at Ostrander were handled by small side tank Baldwin 2-6-2 #4.

 

By the mid 1920’s the capacity of the mill was greater then the limited capacity of #4 and a larger locomotive was needed. In September 1926 specifications were drawn up by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to build an articulated mallet compound side tank locomotive. In the design of the locomotive for Ostrander the locomotive was to be able to operate on track laid with 60 pound rails with maximum curves of 30 degrees and grades of 4%. The water for the boiler was to be stored in side tanks on each side of the boiler with a total capacity of 2,500 gallons and fuel oil was to be stored in a 1,000 gallon tank at the rear of the cab. In November 1926 Baldwin delivered 2-6-6-2T mallet steam locomotive #7 that weighed in at 203,500 lbs. empty and 245,500 lbs in full working order.

In 1931 “Abbey’s Register and Year Book of the Western Logging, Lumber, and Wood Using Industries” provided the following information:

 

Ostrander Railway and Timber Co.

 

E.S. Collins – President

A.L. Collins – Assistant Manager

R. Danielson – Side Foreman

Charles Beauvais – Superintendent

H.E. Markshausen – Purchasing Agent

Peter Jensen – Master Mechanic

 

Daily Output – 500,000 Board Feet; 350 Employees; 5 Sides

 

Equipment – Logging railroad; 12 miles; standard gauge; 66-70# rails; maximum grade 3.7%; rod locomotives, 2; geared locomotives, 4; fuel, oil and wood; disconnect log trucks, 115 pairs; moving cars, 1; tank cars, 2; speeders, 1; donkey engines, 16; commissaries, 3; machine shop; electric lights.

 

Operations at Ostrander continued into the 1930’s but by the end of the decade the trees had been depleted. In 1939 the lands and company were sold to the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company and mallet #7 would soon be heading to a drier climate.

 

A History - Page 2

Text Copyright 2004 by Richard Wilkens. Used here with permission.